In a recent study, the possible impact of PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a class of organobromine compounds that are added to a number of household items as flame retardants have been called into question.
The association between PDBEs (flame retardants) and their impact on maternal thyroid levels was examined in a study conducted by Jonathan Chevrier, researcher in epidemiology and in environmental health sciences and his colleagues at UC Berkeley.
PDBEs are found to be present in commonly used items such as carpets, foam furnishings, plastics, electronics and clothing material, tapestry etc.
These may protect against conflagrations, but are also seen to leech out into the atmosphere and accumulate in the human fat cells.
The full health impact of the higher concentrations of PDBEs in the blood stream of the common American (when compared with their European counterparts) is not yet understood.
However, researchers have found that not only does it impact thyroid levels in pregnant women; it also causes women to take longer to get pregnant. In the study, women were found to correspond to the definition of subclinical hyperthyroidism.